October 13, 2011
Does it bother you when a blog is blatantly sponsored by a company, say Actio Corporation in the case of the Actio Blog? Perhaps what is more scary are blogs that are not blatantly sponsored by a company.
Most bloggers are fed material by some source and are rewarded in some way. Whether or not the feed is transparent is the question.
Take SAP for example. According to Andy Sernovitz at BlogWell, SAP has built a community of 8,000 active bloggers, 70% of which are not SAP employees. Together, these folks generate more than 4,000 posts a day on over 360 forums.
8,000 active bloggers. Wow.
What's in your RSS feed?
SAP's challenge is to keep those 8,000 voices "on message," and then attempt to measure whether or not the efforts are effective. Overall, SAP’s social media strategy is based on an ecosystem approach, reports Sernovitz, the center of which is SAP.com — they control the message. Close to center are live hosted communities, followed by public forums such as Facebook and Twitter. And finally, SAP "messengers" focus on participating in external communities such as BNET, Forbes and CNN Money.
Such widespread "planting" of messages and extras is not unusual. 8,000 active bloggers is a lot, though. Only 30% of those are SAP corporate employees, writing for the SAP brand.
The other 70%? They're not technically SAP employees. So how do you know if your favorite blogger is one of them?
Corporate blogger rising
Now: in that light, one blogger writing -- transparently -- for the Actio Blog or writing as Editor of a certain Journal starts to look -- instead of biased -- transparent. With a corporate blogger, the reader knows:
- what areas of study daily experiences contain
- what sort of expertise is to be expected
- what products may be suggested (not a bad thing if it's transparent)
The corporate blogger is rising. Because readers like to know where they stand.